Left Coast Writers

Diana Goetsch with Thomas Peele - This Body I Wore (Online Event)

Monday, May 30, 2022 - 6:00pm

Diana Goetsch
in conversation with Thomas Peele

This Body I Wore

An Online Event

Mon., May 30th • 6:00pm PT

This event will be hosted live online. Please contact webmaster@bookpassage.com with questions regarding live events.

A captivating memoir of one woman’s long journey to late transition, as the trans community emerges alongside her.

Long before Laverne Cox appeared on the cover of Time, far removed from drag and ballroom culture, there were countless trans women living and dying as men, most of whom didn’t even know they were trans. Diana Goetsch’s This Body I Wore chronicles one woman’s long journey to coming out, a path that runs parallel to the emergence of the trans community over the past several decades.

“How can you spend your life face-to-face with an essential truth about yourself and still not see it?” This is a question often asked of trans people, and a question that Goetsch, an award-winning poet and essayist, addresses with the power and complexity of lived reality. She brings us into her childhood, her time as a dynamic and beloved teacher at Stuyvesant High School, and her plunge into the crossdressing subculture of New York in the 1980s and ’90s. Under cover of night, crossdressers risked their jobs and their safety to give expression to urges they could neither control nor understand. Many of them would become late transitioners, the Cinderellas of the trans community largely ignored by history.

Goetsch has not written a transition memoir, but rather a full account of a trans life, one both unusually public and closeted. All too often trans lives are reduced to before-and-after photos, but what if that before photo lasted fifty years?

Diana Goetsch is an American poet and essayist. Her poems have appeared widely, in The New Yorker, Poetry, The Gettysburg Review, Ploughshares, Best American Poetry, The Pushcart Prize Anthology, and in the collections Nameless Boy, In America and others. She also wrote the “Life in Transition” blog at The American Scholar. Her honors include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and The New School, where she served as the Grace Paley Teaching Fellow. For twenty-one years Goetsch was a New York City public school teacher, at Stuyvesant High School and at Passages Academy in the Bronx, where she ran a creative writing program for incarcerated teens.

Thomas Peele is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter and writer and a continuing lecturer at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. He’s won more than 75 reporting and writing awards over a 38-year career in newspapers and non-profit journalism. His 2012 book Killing the Messenger was called “a masterpiece of contemporary historical narrative.” Peele’s work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The Guardian US, Columbia Journalism Review, Newsday, California Lawyer and many other publications.


Diana Goetsch photo courtesy of Tyler Foltz; Thomas Peele photo courtesy of the publisher


Online Event

Suzanne Maggio - Estrellas (Corte Madera Store)

Saturday, April 23, 2022 - 11:00am

Suzanne Maggio


Sat., April 23, 2022 • 11:00am PT

Corte Madera Store 

This event will be hosted in-person at Book Passage's Corte Madera location

On May 31, 2019, just as the sun was beginning to rise in the sleepy town of St-Jean-Pied-de-Port on the French border, I set out on a journey that would change my life - the 779 kilometer Camino de Santiago de Compostela. I made the decision to walk the Camino one afternoon the previous fall, answering a call that began to stir from deep within my being. A calling I did not yet understand.

My life was feeling a little unsettled. My mother had passed away three years before and I'd just completed work on my first book, The Cardinal Club. In addition, I was about to turn 60 and was looking for a way to commemorate that milestone. As I took those first few steps I could not know what was to come, the people I would meet or the impact those 31 days would have on me.

As I crossed the Pyrennes, traversed the lush vineyards of Rioja or wandered the stone villages of Galicia I would have the opportunity to meet a cast of characters who would open their hearts and lives to me. They would teach me lessons about the things that truly mattered, like generosity, kindness, courage and resilience and the reminder to be present in every moment. To take like as it comes because we can never know what is coming around the corner.

Despite evidence to the contrary, I do not think of myself as a particularly courageous soul. I am not content to bask in my accomplishments nor do I spend much time tooting my own horn. I wasn't raised that way. I was taught to downplay my successes. To steer clear of vanity. I was raised to be humble. So, as I sit down to write this, I hope you'll forgive me for saying something completely out of character here, but I feel the need to tell you that 779 kilometers is a long way to walk - and I walked every single step...

...As you travel along with me on my journey, I invite you to take the opportunity to explore the spaces around you. Notice the way the sunshine peaks peek through the leaves of the dogwood tree. Listen to the gentle whirr of the wings of the hummingbird. Smell the salt in the sea air. Use your senses. Pay attention to the things that we are often too busy to see. To hear. To smell. Let them take you inward. See where the path leads you.

Buen Camino."

Suzanne Maggio is an award winning author of The Cardinal Club - A Daughter’s Journey to Acceptance. A licensed clinical social worker, Maggio has helped hundreds of families improve their relationships by encouraging them to open their hearts and share their stories. She now trains the new generation of helpers as a university lecturer in Psychology, Counseling and Social Work.  Maggio is the granddaughter of Italian immigrants, a passionate cook, frequent traveler and avid baseball fan. She attended her first New York Mets baseball game at the age of eight with her grandfather, a former sports writer from Italy.  Estrellas, Moments of Illumination Along El Camino de Santiago is her second book. Her debut memoir, The Cardinal Club - A Daughter’s Journey to Acceptance is published by Adelaide Books, New York and was a finalist in the 2021 Next Generation Indie Book Awards and the 2020 Independent Book Awards. In 2016 she earned a silver award from Travelers Tales for “Yo Soy,” a story about the search for identity while traveling in Nicaragua. She lives in Northern California with her husband, where they raised their two sons and where they now manage two rambunctious dogs and a brood of demanding chickens.


Suzanne Maggio photo courtesy of the author

Book Passage Corte Madera
51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Kim Dower - I Wore This Dress Today for You, Mom (Corte Madera Store)

Saturday, April 30, 2022 - 1:00pm

Kim Dower

I Wore This Dress Today for You, Mom

Sat., Apr. 30, 2021 • 1:00pm PT

 Corte Madera Store 

This event will be hosted in-person at Book Passage's Corte Madera location

Acclaimed for combining the accessible and profound, Kim's poems about motherhood are some of her most moving and disarmingly candid.

I Wore This Dress Today for You, Mom is an anthology of her poems on being a mother--childbirth to empty nest--as well as being a daughter with all the teenaged messiness, drama and conflict, to finally caring for one's mother suffering from dementia.

Culled from her four collections as well as a selection of new work, these poems, heartbreaking, funny, surprising, and touching, explore the quirky, unexpected observations, and bittersweet moments mothers and daughters share. These evocative poems do not glorify mothers, but rather look under the hood of motherhood and explore the deep crevices and emotions of these impenetrable relationships: the love, despair, joy, humor and gratitude that fills our lives.

Kim Dower, Former City Poet Laureate of West Hollywood, has published four highly acclaimed collections of poetry, including the Gold Ippy Award winning collection Sunbathing on Tyrone Power’s Grave. She has been nominated for four Pushcarts, is widely anthologized, and teaches writing workshops for Antioch University, the West Hollywood Library, and UCLA Writer’s Extension. 

Kim Downer photo courtesy of the author


51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Left Coast Writers®: Susan Alcorn - Walk, Hike, Saunter (Corte Madera Store)

Saturday, November 13, 2021 - 2:00pm

Book Passage & Left Coast Writers® Presents

Susan Alcorn

Walk, Hike, Saunter

Sat., November 13, 2021 • 2:00pm PT • Live • Book Passage Patio

This event will be held outside on the patio at Book Passage's Corte Madera location.

In Walk, Hike, Saunter, long-distance hiker Susan Alcorn introduces you to 32 experienced outdoors women who consider hiking to be an essential part of their lives. Their stories are told with honesty, insight and humor. They share their wisdom and proven tips to inspire women and men of all ages.

Some, but not all, were introduced to the outdoors as children. A few hated those early camping trips, others reveled in them. Several found their passion for adventurous travel later in life and went on to hike thousands of wilderness miles.

The common theme of Walk, Hike, Saunter is that there are many paths to incorporating hiking into your life. Whether hiking is one of many things that you enjoy doing, or whether you find hiking such an passion that you don't mind living out of your car in order to pursue it--you can reap the rewards of exploring the world on foot.

The women, all 45 and older and in the prime of their lives, are all superstars--shining examples of the richness that hiking can bring to our lives. There's no doubt about it--walking and hiking are excellent ways to improve or maintain physical and mental health; in general they increase longevity. They are great ways to enjoy the camaraderie of the trail, or to go solo and foster greater independence. We are lucky to live in these times with an unprecedented number of women on our trails. We are living in an age where we have golden opportunities to explore trails throughout the world.

Simply begin with walking because as we immerse ourselves in nature, enjoy new vistas, and explore interesting cultures our lives will be enriched.

Susan Alcorn was born in Oregon, but has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for most of her life. She loves it here! Since the bay has moderate weather pretty much year round, she can hike year round. And, luckily, she has regional, state, and federal parks where she can enjoy nature and keep in shape.

Ever since she retired from teaching elementary school in 2001 (at age 60), she and her husban have been hiking more and more. They have section-hiked the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail (goes through California, Oregon, and Washington), completing it in 2010. They've also completed over 3,000 miles of Camino trails in Spain, France, and Portugal. They climbed Tanzania's Mount Kilimanjaro in 2007, and backpacked the Circuit Route in Torres del Paine National Park, Chile (Patagonia) in 2010. In 2017 they passed the 6000 mile mark on total long distance trails hiked.

Both of them think that hiking is an excellent activity for people of all ages. It provides both physical and mental health benefits. It certainly has been very good for them and it has been an excellent way to see the world. They intend to continue as long as we can!



51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Left Coast Writers®: Karen Misuraca, Yvonne Horn, & Ruth Carlson (Corte Madera Store)

Saturday, October 9, 2021 - 2:00pm


Book Passage & Left Coast Writers® Presents

Karen Misuraca, Yvonne Horn, & Ruth Carlson

Sat., October 9, 2021 • 2:00pm PT • Live • Book Passage Patio

This event will be held outside on the patio at Book Passage's Corte Madera location.


Karen Misuraca is an award-winning culture travel journalist, golf writer, and author of 9 books, including The California Coast; Backroads of the California Coast, and Backroads of the California Wine Country. She writes for DK Eyewitness Guides, Voyageur Press, Motorbooks, the Press Democrat, and inflight magazines; and, she is the founder/editor of DeepCultureTravel.com. A life-long resident of Sonoma County, in Secret Sonoma she reveals the strangest attractions and quirkiest denizens in the county, from a hillside inhabited by ghosts to where you can play “top gun” in a real fighter jet, and belly up to the bar in an 1860 roadhouse famous for a gun-toting militia. 






Following the success of Secret San Francisco: a guide to the weird, wonderful and obscure Ruth Wertzberger Carlson is back with more bizarre stories, this time about the entire state of California! A resident of the Golden State for nearly 50 years she writes about the quirky characters, odd spots, and fun things off the radar.
An international travel writer, her byline has appeared in the American Airlines magazine, American Way, Bon Appetit, the San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury News, and several anthologies.






Travel writer and photographer Yvonne Michie Horn makes her home in Sonoma County, where her family has lived for three generations. She’s written for Bon Appetit, Golf Digest, Quarterly Review of Wines, and metropolitan newspapers across the United States, including the Los Angeles Times and San Francisco Chronicle. She’s won two Lowell Thomas Awards (considered the “Oscar” of travel writing); is a member of the Society of American Travel Writers, Bay Area Travel Writers, and Garden Communicators International; and maintains two websites, WineryWeddingGuide.com and TheTravelingGardener.com.



51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

NEW DATE: Jim Holden - Adventurous Lives, Daring Acts (Corte Madera Store)

Sunday, December 5, 2021 - 4:00pm

Jim Holden

Adventurous Lives, Daring Acts:

True Stories of the Famous and the Forgotten

Sun., Dec. 5, 2021 • 4:00pm PT

 • Corte Madera Store 

This event will be hosted in-person at Book Passage's Corte Madera location

In these pages, Jim Holden brings us true stories of extraordinary people daring to live their dreams and their singular passions. The protagonists range from the famous to the forgotten and the settings from the wilderness to the urban.

The famous include John Steinbeck, Bill Graham, John Muir, President Theodore Roosevelt, Jack London, Alice Waters, and Christo.  They and the forgotten are captured in the intense periods in their lives when all is at risk.

Jim Holden takes us atop the planet's tallest redwoods. He shows us the last unconquered Native American as he steps from the wild into twentieth century California. We fly with the last wild California condors on the edge of extinction, and we feel John Steinbeck's raw emotions as he emerges into fame and then plunges into despair.

We accompany impresario Bill Graham as he transforms rock 'n' roll and the sixties. We escape from San Quentin and other prisons with America's premier prison escape artist, and we join Jack London on his many dangerous adventures.

We watch Alice Waters in her Berkeley bistro as she changes American food culture. We listen to John Muir and President Theodore Roosevelt as they talk far into the Yosemite night about protecting our forests and wilderness, and we follow the iconic artist Christo as he creates a tall fabric fence that runs twenty-four miles across Sonoma and Marin ranch land before making its dramatic dive into the ocean.

These stories capture unique men and women of daring, who have left distinctive marks on our country's culture and land. This book is one to read and savor.

Jim Holden has been enchanted by the singular history, natural beauty, and astounding stories of the greater Bay Area, California, and the Western States for more than fifty years.  He relishes hiking, travel, and nature.  His previous book, It Happened in Marin, was a local best seller.  He lives with his wife Mary in San Rafael, California.


Jim Holden photo courtesy of the author


51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Left Coast Writers®: Henry Massie - The Boy Who Took Marilyn to the Prom (Corte Madera Store)

Saturday, September 11, 2021 - 2:00pm

Book Passage & Left Coast Writers® Presents

Sat., September 11, 2021 • 2:00pm PT • Live • Book Passage Patio

This event will be held outside on the patio at Book Passage's Corte Madera location.

Interweaving fact and fiction, The Boy Who Took Marilyn to the Prom tells the story of Robbie—the son of Marilyn Monroe’s last psychiatrist—who took her to his high school prom and was never able to let go of the memory. Now an adult and psychiatrist himself, Robbie's childhood feelings are reawakened when he begins working with a patient who reminds him of Marilyn, sparking an obssession with her.

In 1961, a year before her death, Marilyn Monroe's last psychiatrist invited her into his home in a desperate attempt to save the actress by giving her a family she never had. One evening over dinner, the doctor suggests that his son, Robbie, take the actress to his senior prom at Hollywood High School—an experience Marilyn missed because she never finished school. She was 35—looking no older than a college coed—and the boy was 17. That night haunts Robbie until 2007 when he takes on a patient who reminds him of Marilyn, and he becomes sexually obsessed with her, culminating with the two beginning a transgressive affair.

Henry Massie is a writer and psychiatrist who lives in Berkeley, California. He is the author of the biography Art of a Jewish Woman: Felice's Worlds, and coauthor of Lives Across Time, a study of emotional health and illness. He is also coauthor of "My Life Is a Longing," the classic 2006 International Journal of Psychoanalysis article on child abuse, and author of many other articles in professional journals. This is his second novel.


Available in hardcover and paperback


51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Left Coast Writers®: Adrienne Amundsen - Dog Days of the Pandemic Summer (Corte Madera Store)

Saturday, August 14, 2021 - 2:00pm

Book Passage & Left Coast Writers® Presents

Sat., August 14, 2021 • 2:00pm PT • Live • Book Passage Patio

This event will be held outside on the patio at Book Passage's Corte Madera location.

Please join us in a celebration and reading from Adrienne Amundsen’s latest book, Dog Days of the Pandemic Summer, a compelling poetry collection documenting a personal and collective journey into and out of the COVID experience. In this, the third volume in a series of poetry books that combine deep listening and memorable expression, Adrienne Amundsen once again captures the spirit of our times.

"Adrienne Amundsen’s new book engages political corruption, a worldwide pandemic, and the threat of global extinction with a fierce eye and a grieving heart. Amundsen’s book is a visionary collection, reminiscent of the poetry of Whitman. Her truth-saying and lush imagery provide food for the hungry soul."
Kathryn Ridall Ph.D., psychologist and author of Dreaming at the Gates: How Dreams Guide Us and When the Muse Calls—Poems for the Creative Life

"Prepare to have your world rocked, your eyes opened, and your heart forever touched by Adrienne Amundsen’s riveting poems. A master of wordcraft, Adrienne’s poems are effortless cadences of rhythm, song, and wisdom. I was truly moved by her poetry, which captures the joys and sorrows of our lives. Adrienne teaches us to see with new eyes and listen with new understanding.  She makes sense out of the mundane and enriches our lives with meaning."
Cindy Rasicot, author of Finding Venerable Mother: A Daughter’s Spiritual Quest to Thailand


51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

CANCELLED EVENT Sebastian Junger - Freedom (Corte Madera Store)

Sunday, October 31, 2021 - 1:00pm


Sebastian Junger


Sun., Oct. 31 • 1:00pm PT • Live • Corte Madera Store

This event will be hosted in-person at Book Passage's Corte Madera location.

A profound rumination on the concept of freedom from the New York Times bestselling author of Tribe.

Throughout history, humans have been driven by the quest for two cherished ideals: community and freedom. The two don’t coexist easily. We value individuality and self-reliance, yet are utterly dependent on community for our most basic needs. In this intricately crafted and thought-provoking book, Sebastian Junger examines the tension that lies at the heart of what it means to be human.

For much of a year, Junger and three friends—a conflict photographer and two Afghan War vets—walked the railroad lines of the East Coast. It was an experiment in personal autonomy, but also in interdependence. Dodging railroad cops, sleeping under bridges, cooking over fires, and drinking from creeks and rivers, the four men forged a unique reliance on one another.

In Freedom, Junger weaves his account of this journey together with primatology and boxing strategy, the history of labor strikes and Apache raiders, the role of women in resistance movements, and the brutal reality of life on the Pennsylvania frontier. Written in exquisite, razor-sharp prose, the result is a powerful examination of the primary desire that defines us.

Sebastian Junger is the New York Times bestselling author of Tribe, War, A Death in Belmont, Fire, and The Perfect Storm, and co-director of the documentary film Restrepo, which was nominated for an Academy Award. He is also the winner of a Peabody Award and the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He lives in New York City with his family.


Sebastian Junger photo by Peter Foley


51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Cathy Rath - Ripple Effect (Corte Madera Store)

Saturday, October 2, 2021 - 4:00pm

Cathy Rath

Ripple Effect

Sat., Oct. 2, 2021 • 4:00pm PT • Live • Corte Madera Store

This event will be hosted in-person at Book Passage's Corte Madera location.

Jeannie Glazer was three years old in 1952 when her father dies in a car accident on a trip to Atlanta. Sixteen years later, as a college freshman, she is arrested during the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago. She is released hours later when a sergeant announces that her bail was paid by her “pop” and tosses her an envelope of cash. Stunned and suspicious, Jeannie tells no one, convinced somebody is watching her. Determined to find answers, her search closes in on an even darker secret about her father’s tragic death two decades earlier.

“The pleasure of reading Cathy Rath’s Ripple Effect is like the turning of a kaleidoscope: each chapter brings a burst of new revelations, each jump back and forth in time deepens the moral complexity of a story that is part political thriller and part family drama. At its heart is a dauntless and empathetic heroine, Jeannie Glazer, whose coming of age as an activist and truth-teller is both inspiring and emotionally affecting.”
Christopher Castellani, author of Leading Men

“I was hooked from the start by this compulsively readable narrative of family secrets.”
Jo Piazza, author of Charlotte Walsh likes to Win

“A complex novel that dives into a daughter’s discovery of her father’s life and death during the 1960s student rebellions, it builds into an undeniably powerful story of regret and redemption.”
Joy Gould Boyum, author of Double Exposure: Fiction to Film

Born and raised in New York, Cathy Rath ventured out west to complete her education at UCSB and SFSU where she is a professor in the public health department. As a social justice advocate and organizer, she led public health campaigns at Planned Parenthood and Transforming Communities, where her innovative approach to violence prevention was published by the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence. Her efforts to reduce violence against women earned her the 2000 Millennium Leadership Award by the Marin Independent Journal. A writing coach and tutor from middle school to the graduate school level, Cathy also guides debut writers in crafting and completing their books, and works as a Book Passage author event host. In January 2021, Cathy published her first novel, Ripple Effect. During the turbulent 1970s, Cathy was actively involved in a variety of protest movements, and her story draws upon these profound experiences.


51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925


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